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CARITAS to Install Largest Solar Power System at any Nonprofit in Virginia

More than 1,000 Heliene brand photovoltaic solar panels will be installed starting in Spring 2020 on the roof of the CARITAS Center. The 427 Kilowatts of Solar Arrays Will Save an Estimated $427,000 in Energy Costs.

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CARITAS has signed an agreement with Secure Futures Solar of Staunton to install and operate the largest solar power system at any facility for a non-profit organization in Virginia. Solar arrays on the new CARITAS Center now under construction will provide a total capacity of 427 kilowatts of clean energy, estimated to cut the organization’s electric utility bills by $427,000 over the next 25 years.

More than 1,000 Heliene brand photovoltaic solar panels will be installed starting in Spring 2020 on the roof of the CARITAS Center currently being renovated in the Southside area of Richmond. The solar energy system is expected to cover a substantial portion of the new facility’s energy use by generating enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 72 average homes and to offset 464 tons of carbon dioxide pollution.

According to data on solar installations registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the solar arrays at the CARITAS Center will have the largest capacity of any solar energy system located on a building or elsewhere at the location of a non-profit organization in Virginia. As of 2016, Virginia hosted nearly 38,000 nonprofit organizations delivering vital community services, according to consultancy Independent Sector.

“Innovation is one of our core values at CARITAS,” said President & CEO Karen Stanley. “As we move ahead bringing this bold vision for the CARITAS Center to life, it is important that we integrate new energy solutions into our project. We hope we can lead the way as other nonprofits bring solutions like this to life in their communities.”

Secure Futures will install solar energy equipment at no upfront capital cost to CARITAS and will operate the system under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement. Over that term, CARITAS will buy all the electricity generated by the solar panels located on site from Secure Futures at a cost lower than typically available. CARITAS will use a $17,000 grant from the RVA Solar Fund, administered by the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

“CARITAS is walking the talk in linking clean energy to community service in Virginia, ” said Anthony Smith, president and CEO of Secure Futures. “Rooftop solar will cut their electric bills, making more resources available for their most vulnerable neighbors break the cycles of homelessness and addiction to reclaim their lives.”

When renovation of the former warehouse facility is completed later in 2020, the CARITAS Center will feature 150,000 square foot of space to house an emergency shelter, a substance-use recovery program for women, 47 apartments for people transitioning out of homlessness, a workforce development center, a furniture bank, and the organization’s administrative offices.

The decision to add solar power at the new facility is consistent with the commitment of CARITAS to effective stewardship of resources that are both financial and ecological. The building will also incorporate about 45 solar tubes, which will filter natural light throughout the Center. Other appliances are ENERGY STAR certified to manage usage and costs. Toilets in the bulding will also feature automatic shut off functions.

CARITAS helps our most vulnerable neighbors break the cycles of homelessness and addiction to reclaim their dignity. For more than 30 years, CARITAS has been providing effective, permanent solutions to individuals and families dealing with the crisis of homelessness and/or substance use disorders in the Metro Richmond area. Its four programs include Emergency Shelter, the Furniture Bank, CARITAS Works, and The Healing Place. Through these four programs, CARITAS provides men and women with the tools to make a successful transition to dignity and self-sufficiency.  You can learn more on the organization’s website at www.caritasva.org.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Conversations at the Monument this Saturday

The end goal is to record and allow for these conversations to create a framework for change and policy making at the state and local level.

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Councilperson Stephanie Lynch is hosting a set of five conversation stations at Marcus David Peters Circle. A chance to listen and be heard.

Location: Lee Monument, 1700 Monument Ave
Date: Saturday, August 8th
Time: 2PM – 4PM

This city has been through a lot in the last several weeks and we have heard repeatedly from both organizers and every day residents that they would like more opportunities to have their voices heard. The movement for justice and equity is a fervent one and there has never been a more pertinent opportunity to bring people together and move into the action phase with real policies and solutions. The purpose of this event is to bring various groups together to listen to one another and have facilitated conversation with legislators, local elected officials and city leaders so that we can hear directly from the people we serve and represent. This event will happen rain or shine and will start promptly at 2pm-4pm.

There will be 5 facilitated “conversation stations” for residents to record their concerns, recommendations and policy ideas. Each station will be moderated by a designated facilitator around different institutions in our system that impact black lives (Education, Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Housing, Health and mental health care, and Economic Development). The end goal is to record and allow for these conversations to create a framework for change and policy making at the state and local level as legislators prepare for the August 18th General Assembly Special Session and on the city level, the resuming of the regular City Council calendar year.

Bring a mask, dress for the weather. All are welcome and no voice will be left out.

Confirmed Guests Thus Far Include:

Senator Jennifer McClellan
Senator Ghazala Hashmi
Delegate Betsy Carr
Delegate Dawn Adams
Delegate Schyler Vanvalkenburg
Councilmember Mike Jones
Councilmember Stephanie Lynch
Councilmember Andreas Addison
School Board Member Patrick Sapini
Chief Gerald Smith
Sherriff Antoinette Irving
Representation from the Office of the Mayor
Representation from the Office of the Superintendent

In service and solidarity,

Stephanie Lynch
City Council, 5th District

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Laura Lee’s is Now Open for Dine-in Service

Laura Lee’s has a plan to keep you, their employees safe and get you a great meal.

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Great news from our friends at Laura Lee’s (3410 Semmes Avenue).

Laura Lee’s is now open for dine-in and take-out daily from 5-10 PM:

We offer a mix of outdoor seating and tables adjacent to our open garage door at the front of the dining room. Our online reservations system does not differentiate between the two – we will do our best to offer your preferred table at arrival, but there are no guarantees. If you would like to specifically reserve either an indoor table or an outdoor table, please call us at (804)233-9672.

Please note that all guests are required to wear a mask or face covering.

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Northside

South of the James Farmers Market Plans to Return to Forest Hill Park Next Year

Grow RVA will return home to Forest Hill Park in May 2021 with a smaller Summer Brunch Market in late August.

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The neighborhood social media outlets have been a battleground of accusations, hurt feelings, whining, and sympathetic support when it comes to the South of the James Farmers Market move to Bryan Park.

GrowRVA posted yesterday hoping to clarify their plans. Will this put out the hair-rending and weekly question of “is the market coming back”? All signs point to no.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”☂️

Grow RVA has been weathering COVID-19 and working with Richmond VA Parks and RecreationKristen N. LarsonRMC Events and the RPD to offer the safest set up and practices in order to serve the RVA community. South of the James Farmers Market will remain in Bryan Park through the winter, as we are not sure how the virus will
continue to operate. ❤️

Grow RVA will return home to Forest Hill Park in May 2021. Until then, join us for a Summer Brunch Market in late August. More information will be posted as it is available. ❤️

And Bryan Park, big things to come Summer 2021!❤️

Thank you for your support as we navigate this current complicated situation! Good vibes go a long way!

Stay safe and shop local!❤️

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